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A hacker is someone who exploits vulnerabilities in computer systems. This can be for malicious purposes such as stealing information or disrupting systems or for good reasons like strengthening security by assessing vulnerabilities. Hacking can be a fun hobby or a lucrative career.

The word “hacker” has a long history and predates modern computers and technology. Early hackers were often interested in experimenting with and improving their technology. For example, members of MIT’s Tech Model Railroad Club would ‘hack’ their high-tech train sets to expand their functionality. Later, when personal computers became widely available in the 1980s, hacking became more about exploitation and theft. This shift is when the term took on a more negative connotation as people like Jonathan James and Adrian Lamo gained notoriety for stealing software code and breaking into corporate websites to steal information.

There are also white hat hackers, or ethical hackers, who assess and strengthen security to protect digital data. Many organizations need skilled ethical hackers to prevent cybercriminals from exploiting flaws in their system and data. These professionals can be found in every industry across the globe. The best way to get a start in this highly specialized field is by enrolling in a cybersecurity professional bootcamp.

The HTB Academy offers a Cybersecurity Foundations course that provides students with step-by-step theoretical and practical training to develop the core skills they’ll need to become a hacker. Developing these fundamental skills will accelerate your ability to learn more advanced hacking concepts, techniques and tools.